And She Reads Again Monday, Sep 12 2016 

I used to read all the time (a book a week) but fell out of the habit. Partly because I’m currently in the middle of the Game of Thrones book, the first book in a Song of Ice and Fire and it’s so tedious at the start.

Lately all I’ve been reading articles online (mostly health related ones). But something kicked inside of me and I started reading again!  Yes, it’s still Game of Thrones, and I’m not reading as fast as in the past, but it’s better than nothing!

This stuffed dragon is something I got to celebrate my reading again.  Why a dragon?  I love them (always have) and Dany is kind of awesome, and she’s Queen of Dragons.

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Technology is no reason for murder Sunday, Jul 8 2012 

Technology is never a good reason for murder, but Matthew Pearl gives one character a compelling, if not crazy reason, for comitting crimes against humanity in the name of technology in his recent book The Technologists.  I recently had the benefit of reading an advanced copy of The Technologists by Matthew Pearl.  Though it was the first book I’ve read of Pearl’s, I had been really excited to read it.  This was partly because it was an advance copy, and partly because, well it was free, and I get giddy over free stuff, because I’m almost always broke.  And let’s face it, who doesn’t get excited about free stuff,  because aren’t we all broke?

my advanced copy of The Technologists

The Technologists was one of the free books I got from goodreads.com.  It was actually really cool, because it was an advance copy, the cover wasn’t even the actual design, and I received a large notice notifying me I could not actually post a review until after the release date.  Not to worry, Random House, I’m such a procrastinator, I didn’t read the book until January, and I am just now writing a review for it.  Sorry, that’s just how much I suck.  I do promise to do much better in the future.

But it wasn’t just the cover that I really loved about this book, it was the author as well.  I mean, I’m just going to say this as matter of factly as possible: Matthew Pearl knows how to grab a reader.  As a writer, (and I can hear my Eng 312 professor now, “you are all writers, but once you get paid to do it, you’re an author”), I know that grabbing the reader is one of the most difficult things to do.  You can’t just start the reader off with something bland.  They want a reason to start reading, and then they need a reason to continue reading.  For example, with The Alchemist,  my only reason to continue reading that was that it was quick.   In The Technologists, Pearl entices the reader so effortlessly, it must be simply second nature to him.  Honestly?  I couldn’t put the book down.

I do have to admit, it did start a bit rough for me, simply because there was a bit of science in the beginning, and though I love Mythbusters (who doesn’t? They blow stuff up), science was never one of my favorite subjects.  And Pearl does his homework, so there was some science in there (for reals).  And it’s not just science he studies, because I read The Dante Club soon after The Technologists, and I can tell you, the man knows how to do his research.   But really, that’s how you should define a good storyteller.  They should do their research, so they know what they are talking about, and they should possess a keen ability to make you want to continue reading their work, even after you finish it.

And for the record, though I love Sherlock Holmes, I don’t typically like murder mysteries.  So that fact alone should tell you that The Technologists is a must read.  It makes a non murder mystery fan, like a murder mystery book.  I will admit, it’s not your typical murder mystery and that it doesn’t really fit the Dan Patterson profile.  And technically, it can’t be classified a murder mystery.  There really isn’t a murder in this book.  Some people die, but the intention wasn’t murder, it was chaos. And I guess I should actually talk about the plot some, huh?

The Technologists’main plot is that there are these ‘accidents’ happening all around Boston.  And, unfortunately for them, the kids over at MIT are being blamed for them.  Now of course, these ‘kids’ (though I use the term loosely, as some of them had already fought in a war), won’t take this sitting down.  They fight these allegations especially hard, since they could lose their school over it.  And it’s a shame, really, that they get blamed for these accidents, because on top of all that, they have to suffer the pious and their disdain of the school’s Darwinist principles, and the obnoxious snobbery from the Harvard students.

One would think that the answer to who the culprit is would be clear cut, but there are definitely a few twists to this book.  One, for example, is the budding romance that develops.  It was especially surprising because it revolved around nerds.  I mean, no offence.  Afterall, I am one, but one never expects them to get any in a book.  Who wants to read about fingers touching over beakers?  Okay, that didn’t actually happen, and I may have actually died if it did.

Would I recommend this book in general?  Yes, definitely.  I thought it was a really quick, fun and intelligent read.  Like I said I could barely put the book down.  And when I did, it was to look up something (pertaining to the plot) on Wikipedia.  I mean, this book not only keeps you enveloped in the mystery but also makes you want to learn!  Where else can you find that?

The 12 in 12 (for 2012) Wednesday, Apr 4 2012 

New Years resolutions suck.   Which is why I’ve decided to not partake in that nonsense this year.  Instead, a few of my friends and I will be doing what has been called “The Twelve.”  The concept is simple.  Instead of doing things you think you should do, you decide to do something you want to do.  And of course, they have to be positive things (no “I plan to punch someone 12 times”), and they have to be quantifiable (nothing like go to the gym more).  Well before you ask what this has to do with a reading blog, one of my twelve is reading 52 books this year.

For some people this may seem a lot, especially when taking into consideration I have 11 other things to do on this list.  And yet for others, this is something so easy peasy, I have nothing to worry about.  I’m in the latter group to be honest, because it really comes down to a book a week, and some books (like The Hunger Games) can be read in a day.  The only problem is, is that though the 12 is supposed to be for the full year, my final list wasn’t completely written out until February (and I didn’t actually start a book until mid-March, naughty me).  But, good news, is that not only am I a fast reader, but I started off with The Hunger Games, so though I’ve only started my reading in the past two or three weeks, I’ve got seven books completed (go me!).

What it comes down to is making sure I read about 100 pages a day.  Most of which has to be done at night, which means that I can’t do my normal goofing off on facebook (gasp!), which may actually be a good thing, because most of my facebook time is spent liking things my friends post, or checking for new posts.  Thrilling.  But now, I spend my time actually reading!  The only thing I fear is that with all this reading, I won’t have time for the other things on my list.  But I think I’ll just have to find a day or two to take a break from reading to focus on the other items on my list.  In any case, I’m really excited about completing this item on my list, and it will definitely take a chunk out of my unread books on goodreads.com.

On goons and pauses Tuesday, Sep 27 2011 

“Time’s a goon, right?”  Right.  Though it may seem like a collection of short stories at first, Jennifer Egan’s A Visit from the Goon Squadis actually an intricate web of lives thrust together.  You could say the main characters are two people.  A boss, Bennie Salazar, and his secretary, Sasha.  Though the novel is filled with many other vibrant characters, it is these two that stand out the most.  And it is these two that have a connection, however indistinct, to every other character in the novel.

The novel itself becomes like a puzzle.  Each chapter, each individual story is an interlocking piece of a larger picture.  Much like one of those digital art pieces you can buy at a poster store, made up of thousands of still images, each chapter in this novel can stand on its own, but when combined together the stories are a beautiful portrait.

And you don’t have to be a pure good person to make it okay in life.  Even those who make mistakes end up well, because they’ve tried to make up for all the hurt they’ve caused, by doing good.  It isn’t a matter of black and white, but different shades of gray, and sometimes color.

The way Egan meshes these character’s lives, is an obvious allegory to life itself.  As you don’t see some people every day of your life, you only know what happens through snapshots.  And so we are this additional character in the novel.  Unspoken of, and not made reference to.  And we just meet up with our friends through the years, and recall some of our favorite, and some of our worst memories.  And we see their lives change as time goes by.  A Visit from the Goon Squad tells us, throughout the course of the book, is that time can be a goon, but sometimes you can stop it from pushing you around.  And the other times, you can always stop and listen to the pauses.